How much is enough?

How much money is enough? One million, 50 million, 1 billion? How much money is enough to afford everything you dreamed of for the rest of your life? Do you need 7 homes, a private jet, a yacht and enough money to buy a Congressman or two? How much money is enough when much of humanity lives on a few dollars a day?

How much education is enough when most new jobs are service jobs that may require only an 8th grade education? Teachers, stock brokers, lobbyists, engineers and CEOs may require an advanced degree, but how much education should a citizen receive? Does a citizen require a high school diploma or a college degree to be an informed voter? The GOP are making a college degree more difficult to obtain as well as making it harder to vote. The media are failing to inform us on the important issues of the day. How much education do the majority need to be good and informed citizens in a democracy?

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GI Bill

G.I. Joe: America's Elite

G.I. Joe: America's Elite (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I was thinking about other factors post WW2 that added to the middle class and supported democracy when I realized that I had forgotten an important one, the GI Bill that encouraged many returning vets to pursue higher education. The many college graduates who were the first persons in their families to graduate from college were a big reason that the middle class gained strength and robustness in the decades following WW2. We tend to forget how important education is in these days of pinched personal and government budgets. It was Thomas Jefferson who advocated a free education through college for all free citizens.

Democracy denigrated

Democracy and Education

Democracy and Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some bloggers exalt republics and denigrate democracy as mob rule. Why do they do that? I believe they show disrespect for democracy because they don’t like majority rule. They believe that they, a minority, know better what is good for the country than the unwashed majority of voters. That is one of the reasons that the representatives of the 1% in the media frequently tell members of Occupy Wall Street to take a bath and get a job.

If majority rule, with protections for the minority, is really a problem for some voters, the answer I believe, is better education in general and better education in particular in American history and civics. The media in recent years has really failed in their job to educate voters and I believe that it is the result of the concentration of media ownership in a few corporate hands. The principal purposes of the media now are the generation of profits and the support of the GOP who support the 1%, rather than the fair and balanced supply of information needed by the voters.

Racial discrimination

Inner City Pressure

Inner City Pressure (Photo credit: shannonpatrick17)

Racial discrimination in the US is a chicken and egg situation; which came first, the chicken or the egg. Some of the majority believe that the poor/minorities do not deserve our help because the poor/minorities do not live up the ideals of American society. Some of the poor/minorities are lazy (unemployed) and others are criminals (drug dealers and/or gang members). What some of the majority are forgetting or do not understand is that jobs have disappeared from the inner-city ghettos where the poor/minorities are forced to live because they cannot afford anything better. Jobs have migrated to the suburbs and public transit is often inadequate to connect the inner-city job seeker to suburban job opportunities. The job seeker may need private transportation (a car) to gain a job, but he/she needs the job first to afford a car. A catch-22 situation.

Looking at the situation from the viewpoint of the poor/minorities, American society has let them down by providing fewer and fewer services due to policies begun in the 1980s. Education is poor and public transit for job holders and job seekers is inadequate. Without education and good paying jobs, what do we expect the poor/minorities to do? Life must go on. Unemployment/welfare benefits and crime may be the only sources of income for a growing number of Americans.

This is not a policing problem, where putting more of the poor/minorities in prison is the answer. As prisons are privatized, there is a profit motive to incarcerate more and more people. We should be spending our tax dollars on better schools, not more prisons. I believe that the answer to the problem of increasing poverty and crime is better education so that our poor/minorities can become productive members of society. And some portion of the better education must go to educate those of the majority who believe that the poor/minorities are solely or largely responsible for their own situations.

For additional information, I recommend When Work Disappears, The World of the New Urban Poor by William Julius Wilson. I know that the situation of the poor/minorities in the US is a complicated subject with many factors affecting the outcome. Looking at it as a chicken and egg matter is a vast simplification, but I think that it does provide a valid insight that may be helpful in understanding the problem(s).

Home schooling part 2

Homeschooling in Action

Homeschooling in Action (Photo credit: Robbi Baba)

Rick Santorum home schools and so do millions of other parents. I home schooled my son for one year and I loved the closeness it entailed. However, home schooling is not easy. I would like to know how well prepared home-schooled children are for college and to be good citizens. This is a question I will pursue in the near future and report on my findings.

In particular, I wonder how Rick and his wife are preparing their children. Are they learning to think for themselves or are they learning to repeat some of Rick’s crazy ideas? We in the West criticize the Saudi financed madrassas in Pakistan and elsewhere because the students there learn to memorize the Koran and little else. Does home schooling in the US do a better job preparing children for life than the Muslim madrassas?

Please see Home schooling  | One child